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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  July 18, 2009 11:00pm-12:00am EDT

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endangered species act as out loss because they are trying to impede development or stop logging of public forests and that somehow makes them an out of threatening the established order but in fact they are advocating obey the law that we have and fall when the endangered species act if we would only obey the laws we have, the problem is we've been breaking ball so many years and that message has really resonated that really we have some tools now if only we would put them to work to help heal our landscapes. >> host: edward, thank you very much. >> guest: my pleasure. ..
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>> john ross executive editor of american heritage magazine recounts the life of robert rogers, considered the father of american special forces. rogers combined european technology, and native american flexibility and stealth tactics to create a military plan that was used during the american revolution. for ticonderoga in your custody of then. it is an hour. >> over the course of the years i have worked on this book and numerous times the hours and days and weeks that i have spent here. this staff, i just must say the
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staff at fort ticonderoga has always been generous, knowledgeable and helpful, really a terrific place not only to work but for ticonderoga is one of our true national treasures. there are so few places where you can come and see an 18th-century fort, where you can walk in the footsteps of people like robert rogers and i just commend you and i urge you all to support fort ticonderoga in any way you can. coming here today, buying books,, frequently and doing those sorts of things. i am also deeply honored to have worked in the footsteps in coming here. that is another thing that i feel that i am falling as reach mentioned in the footsteps of john goodale, kenneth roberts. i have seen their notes, have read their materials, i feel that i am part of the grand
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tradition and i hope that i am doing just as with this book that i have just completed. they have so eloquently talked about these stories and brought them alive. this is history at its best. i have also had the benefit of archival materials that they never have had. they did not get to see and you will have a treat in store for you today. at the end of the presentation we are going to bring out one of the most important primary source documents that has come out about robert rogers that is come out in the last 50 or maybe 100 years. very exciting. it is a map, the first time it will have been shown in public that i know of so that is a treat that ewald can look forward to. two things before i begin. oneth by one into making shameless plug for american heritage magazine, and if you haven't seen it or know about it please look it up. wittes the preeminent magazine
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on american history in this country. it tells wonderful, colorful stories about our past. this year, in december we will be celebrating our 60th anniversary. bruce padden was the first senator. david mccullough worked on it. it is a terrific thing so this is another way you can support the wonderful efforts and his rialta there. also, before i start, i wanted to just hold a moment of silence for the men and women who were fighting overseas on our behalf particularly the rangers. and now to robert rogers, the subject of my book. first, i want to see a show of hands who is seen the spencer tracy movie, northwest passage? i can see a few of you.
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i grew up on it. 1940, first technicolor movie. that was one of the ways i got into this whole subject. and as you know, that book is, that movie is about the st. francis way and we are very privileged to be here as rich mention, it happened in the fall of 250 years ago and started not far from here so we are in a kind of interesting place to take a look at that, so i thought i would talk about that today. first, who was robert rogers? first, just a quick note. we-- there are no portraits of him in real life so of the picture you see of robert rogers is an author's imagine of the take. though i particularly like this one, just because of the indians and the way that it is all set up. to do this you will notice that
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we cut off the head of him on the front cover of the book. i didn't want to represent that we did know what he looked like but the mystery of the man. who was robert rogers? in a nets shell a scotch-irish backwoodsman of new hampshire who became the most famous figure of the french and indian war. that of course is the titanic struggle with france and britain for control in north america. in the beginning of the war, in the mid 1750's the british have not gotten the best and of things. differential and their indian allies really took them to task in a number of battles and the british commander, large surely invited 25-year-old rogers to boston to see what he could learn about this young man. it is very interesting to think about here in the supreme commander of the british forces
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and is pretty rough but very talented young man, transferring information. ata vet, rogers wrote dumbed 28 rules of engagement. this is really north america's first wore manual. it is a very kind of democratic take on war. it is not a huge very complicated set of rules. it is something that any yankee farmer could learn and remember and take into battle. it is a clever mix of indian warfare techniques. european tactics and some, a lot gleaned from the hunter too, his background so he really started to create something that was very new, very american in to this day formation of the rangers, the special operations at fort benning were spent a little time, they looked at him as the real forefather of the
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invention of special operations, which, and, and they have read him and steady him before they go out to afghanistan and iraq and elsewhere. on to our story begins in september of 1759 rogers convinced commander of british forces to launch a bold attack on st. francis, a canadian village that had been the source of many, many attacks on the colonial british settlements over the years. the target was some 150 miles to the north in the wilderness with no wrote. even the idea of a military unit doing something like this had never been contemplated by the british. a dozen miles north of crown point on the eastern shore of lake champlain amid the button brush and cattail wetlands a crowded otter creek built the
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rogers sale of the french schooner pull the bindel hiding, each carrying eight long boards and provisions for a month. the expedition soon to be launched with undergo perhaps the most grueling ordeal ever recorded in north american history and in so entering and surviving its members would write a new chapter in the log of special operations. the plan to make a bold and the press and in its strike against st. francis 150 miles north but not as the woodsman laborers into canada. by putting the enemy's own game of woodsman-- by plain don't game of waging fests uprising in destructive small unit warfare rogers was gambling that he could take the teeth out of the indians will to continue their alliance with the french. it was a bold gamble in deed. no british expeditionary force
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had ever contemplated a long range lunch fset operational scope for strategic attempt. southeast in his nearly 200 hand-picked men waited patiently rogers heard a shrill cry of it bald eagle. they watched as it swept from its broad nest and that silver maples and green ashes with its powerful wings in search of the yellow perch. it is saturday september 15th, 1759. the fall whether unseasonably cold had silenced the summer of chattered of bullfrogs and abroad early frost that had blessedly killed off mosquitoes and biting flies. then rogers disclosed one sloop and another sales fall, smartly within the legs con fines burkas and they were joined by a larger schooner. they were not pretty ships. the french called them together quickly with the fittings that stripped from merchant vessels in quebec. but, he could easily see the
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deadliness of their arguments. the 65 ton sloops mounted guns and the iron noses of six protruded from cannon porched. the topsail schooner or a brace as well as a half-dozen six pounders. had rogers not pull his craft enjoy these warships would it made short work of them in columns on the water the 17 will votes stretched upward a tenth of a mile, easy pickings for an enemy that could top eight knots when even straining an oarsman battle to get votes up to three. it could whip a large hole through the planking to wreak havoc among shoulder to shoulder oarsmen. we will pizzas velta the muscle with fragments of scrap iron a kind of shock and charged with then shot annie unlucky survivor before the ship came within
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ranger musket range. and, so rogers made his way up. can we have the map? you will see where we are right here in ticonderoga, so we are right here. this is like georgia and this is lake champlain and ticonderoga they started from crown point about 17 miles from here and they had to work their way up all the way up to the top northeast corner champlain in miss a quiet day. they played cat and mouse with the french, with the schooners and their boats. so they got up to the day, back to that, and they dropped the boats off very quietly, as quietly as they could come up pull the bloats to shore, turn
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them over and then put the bushes and debris over the boats to hide them. this would be the way they plan to come back. rogers left as a huge lie did to scouts to keep an eye on the boats and they remained hidden. and then they took off north, actually east and then north into the forest up and to canada. as the men marched even deeper into the north country that first day the french patrol chanced upon the british or floating in the day. that discovery persuaded him to dispatch 40 men under his top partisan, whose formidable force had nearly annihilated rogers. rogers is that the battle. we in short order they discovered the whaleboats, took tomahawks to most of the polls
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and burdened the remains to make sure no enemy could reconstruct that means a return. as they watched their men at work they must have wondered who led orchestrated so bold and effective under the noses of the strong naval presence. as the french kept the supplies him to set aside will boats. i would also like to thank these watercolors we commissioned from a wonderful artist, so these are, and they are in this new issue of american heritage but they are very wonderful and very imaginative. oblivious to these mounting perils rogers and his men crossed near a french present-day felix bergin swandall northey speak one day perhaps to later the gasping lookouts overtook the column crying out the password and articulating the worst fears, 200 men lay in ambush at the
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wilke votes wanted view while 200 typic tip the trail. call in chance of returning fire lake champlain was gone. rogers called an officers council of war. the sudden better choices under the dark shadows of the spruce forest. is on lucky circumstance put this into some consternation road rogers as usual exaggerating this case. even should the rangers' best their foes, no reinforcements could reach them while the enemy could be supported by any numbers they please. the destruction of the will votes have severed their best line of retreat and the loss of provisions prevented another melancholy consideration. despite such concerns the officers voted to carry on an prosecutor our design at all ventures. as cortez new ad veracruz there's nothing like the destruction of their boats. rogers guest of the only possible plan which acknowledge a good chance of philly.
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after ravaging st. francis the rangers would pass eastward and then south to the river valley and fork number four, the northern outpost on the river. can you put the map up and i will show you that. as you can see the map of st. francis at the top they plan to do that and come back down to the food supplies but now that their boats were destroyed and there was an unhealthwise apprise waiting for them rogers decided instead to go back down over to the east to and down to the connecticut river. here is fork number four which was the most northern presence of the british fort wise and as he can see it is quite a long way they are so what rogers didn't, rogers charged first lieutenant ander mcmullen, an irishman with two years'
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service-- i am sorry. rogers calculated the starvation would nevertheless overtake them long before they reach the port. that way to save the being a good 100 miles longer so he planned to summon a relief party to run dave to 60 miles up the connecticut at the west bank in the fall of the west of the wells river. so come and he wanted somebody to come in where the wells came in here to rendezvous with a cache of supplies. rangers, rogers charged first lieutenant mcmullen an irishman with two years' service who walked with some difficulty, a lynas that would only intensify. to carry an outline of the plan to ban cars. that being the way i should return if at all. he did not need to explain the whole force of survival depended on effective coordination but it is unclear whether he boys the
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corollary the indians captured mcmullen and compel them to divulge his message every ranjit would be doomed to the worst that's imaginable. mcmullen consented and shortly thereafter he left at the head of six other ranchers. what brings some men together with great and lasting determination in the face of the gravest extremity while others face things no let's break or enduring, falter or disintegrate as strident differences of opinions. an extraordinary chemistry among men in the field, it is too facile to explain the dynamics that spore the rangers on that day, hockley pursued in enemy territory as the common determination of people who dreaded to appear weak or lose face in front of their fellows to whom they were bound by terrible but uniting fear. in such circumstances a break east and south across the wilderness with it carried no
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stigma. so what explains the desire of the press of these men on word ever deeper into the even deeper into the ever sharpening teeth of danger and that engendered that extreme belief in themselves, that alone brings the ultimate achievement? this single-minded commitment of the leader does not itself guarantee its commanders will follow with consistent and effective route. somehow rogers focus the men senate g-3 collective lands preventing the natural human tendency under extreme circumstances to look out for oneself alone. and he did so not by resorting to fear or threat of punishment but rather by turning adversity into a confident demonstration of preparation, still in character. far from undoing the unit they focused on their common goal. as with all the special operation teams that would take shape 200 years later extreme situations became an opportunity, a change of consciousness.
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on the struggle north, northeast to the spruce that lay quebecois soleil unchanging glaciers some 11,000 years ago large blocks had broken off. the dying issa chique dumping standing gravel over. eventually they melted to form pawns arqeutte lakes which gradually became edge and then choked with cranberry and labrador n.t. and gave way to black spruce. as the men stepped into the cold dark water the color of tea, each step proved uncertain. 1 foot might gain could purchase in the next think above the ankle or the need. of mergence in branches. black spruce needles rates stumbling bodies. daemond being centring in the desert habitat became conscious only slow the of the sheer magnitude. the glow of yellow eagleson verse blunder did little to
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temper them. rogers earl number three instructed that troops marching over soft ground should go up to prevent the enemy from trafficking as they would do with the marched in single file. rogers had outfitted the force into pairs of moccasins of peace but under such punishment footwear deteriorated quickly so some probably stripped them off and walked barefoot. that way the cold, the water most of the way. ausley proving difficult because we had no way to secure ourselves from the water. they cut saplings and laid them down overlaid by leaves in form of a raft or a kind of hamm on which they could rest. as many as half the men laid down while the others kept watch, some on the perimeter. the weather continued wet and unseasonably cold. for nine days they drudge beginning before darkener camping in the dust gaining less
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than 10 miles a day. the boston newsletter worked out that several died in the swamp but in this journal and other reports remain silent. fever and lynas may have claimed could men's lives in that quiet purgatory. and, they made it through and the fact that they had gone through this bruise blog had shaken the, their pursuers who did not want to go through that kind of ordeal. their pursuers went left and still did not know exactly where rogers and his crew were headed. there were a string of indian settlements in canada, up along the st. lawrence. and they gambled that rogers and his men would come in little bit to the west of st. francis. they gambled wrong and the attack on st. francis brought an
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entire surprised. it was a success and they burned the village, took prisoners, led a number go and it turns out perhaps that there were a number of the, of the warriors had actually joined the group waiting for rogers just to the west so they did not need an incredible amount of resistance. in very short order the whole thing was done and they grabs some, a few prisoners and some corn and set the village on fire and left to go back down to st. francis river. on the afternoon of october 5th, the day after st. francis won up in flames 38-year-old john demoss and 16 militiamen from three rivers 60 miles to the northeast trotted into the town.
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some of the dead lay prepared for burial, willful link in bark tied up with corker call the ground was heartened by the autumn frost, survivors drawn by the smoke pouring into this guy that the east facing the graves of their people. the dreaded fires spirits believed attended the hanbury dead. ten like structures atop the graves. a woman walked among them her haircut to the scalp and your face rabb the black with ash, the signs of a mother who lost her child. the wild-eyed figure in a heavy black will tactic polling a crucifix around his neck ran up to the belated rescuers. father pierre and joseph could barely contain his theory at those who destroyed his church and set fire to the valuable archives and displayed violent
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content at the sacred host. the night comers it looted silver plated candle sticks when silver madonna more than half a century before. father punctuated his lamentations with bitter reproaches to failure of the king's soldiers to protect his people. how could this have come about? he walked over to the smouldering vestiges of the church wincott eclair of its brass bell and wicklund of its brass bell amid the charred walls tuning out the hysterical rantings of the priest. for all that one detailed the tie reed stopped him short. i.t. cause the priest to repeat the rangers had carried off the wife of the white chief of st. francis and their two sons.
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clever, this complicated matters well his small force could catch up with rogers easily, yet to move with unusual care less to put the hostages at grave risk. he must begin a high-stakes game of cat and mouse biding its time for fear of ambush. he was no stranger to battle or strategic rating. this bittle of mind could save the french with certain defeat and the initial valley had cut down his calendar. hattie head-- county not quickly ordered men on a flanking maneuver through the woods with near impunity a skilled orchestrator of indian warfare, he long settlements. rogers would put as much distance between himself and st. francis as possible but would he swings out then the round back towards the bay and the cash that he might not know it been destroyed or if he did
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know what you make a southeast shine toward the connecticut river valley? to work best live from the st. francis river crossing over the ship to the connecticut. the bitter abernathy braves needed little encouragement for the of the women were already it work forming the flour into cakes. unlike stride rock corn which is difficult to digest it was perfect food for traveling. view but mercilessly driven his party moved out from the savage town, it's bereft peace urging them to read retribution for which they needed no encouragement. a little bit after a couple days after the rangers were working their way southeast along the banks of the st. francis river, they had been having trouble
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with their large group, many of the officers felt, finding anything to eat in terms of any animals in the woods and they felt it there a large group were chasing away game so the officers decided in this is not something rogers was interested in doing just yet but to split up into ten or 12 small groups and head of the independently. so, at a crossing, of the st. francis they split into these groups and rogers and tending to go down east, some back around the bay and thale headed out and could have proved to be a big mistake. soon and of they reached the point where rogers forced the spurs. his guts reputes this signs and
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counterparties that had set up. "you dividing its own column in surging with the energy he began hunting to haunt rangers in earnest. two days after rogers broke up his command the men overwound dunbar killing both lieutenants and five men and taking three prisoners. eight rangers fought their way out as the indians held retribution and stripped and mutilated the bodies pitching the unrecognizable corpses into a nearby pond. eventually the survivors fell in with rogers. nearly the same time demoss ran down the connecticut regiment and his detachment. despite his men to eagerness to strike he divided his time. we its see avery's group had gone beyond the limits of their resources. the men stumbling along eyes fixed on the ground in front of their robotically moving feet. corporal curtis would recall how much they were feeble by trebil
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and tested to the provision saves mushrooms for for five days. the evening of the ninth day avery and two others went hunting leaving eight men behind collapsed against a log entry trunks on the forest floor. lost in their own private hell, only then did he give the order and a handful of indians plunged into the midst for the one cried out only 2 feet away, where wilks completely surprised curtis and the others could not struggle to their feet. ndn hence called them up as long live celeste of their blank is. the frenchman tie them to trees. then the indians plenge the knighten to him delighting in his screams until suddenly they stopped. meanwhile rogers and his party had threaded their way south west between an shed of the
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eastern shore of lake. iraq of rogers command passed through great croats of american beach is like a great tree trunks resemble elephant legs. the pointed leaves that turn golden, patches of white perch feldman with fires are when storms devastated the old growth forests. among the patterns of the tree cover 400-year-old red spruce to maple saplings the desperate men encounter their first starvation induced hallucinations in the already strange status. to counter the dryness of mouth that attends the phases of starvation some of the men sucked on pebbles, their tongues resting in their miles like alien presence is. others cut holes in bark which turn pink as the chu. awe all frequently in copiously. they grew irritable agonizingly sensitive to cold, depressed and
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simultaneously apathetic and easily offended. many fell into listlessness mechanically responding to major rogers the effectives commands to get up and move along. by now he was pulling out all of his tricks harvesting the oystermen chicken of the woods mushrooms. they scraped the exterior bark off of birch trees and eight this week pulp. curiously no survivors reported eating berries which would normally have been in season but then it was a strange bad winter. let's hundred nod their debts with the intensity of the turning blade than doubled over to find what little eves they could. they resorted to rusting the indian scalps they recently have taken in boiling their leather belts and drabs chewing the tough material for any nourishment. sunmaid their moccasins and the nub of candles they carry. they boiled their powder horns and drank the broth. once the metabolism as consumed did subcutaneous fat it turns
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upon the muscles and organs in the process, seeking to keep the heart and nervous system going. back in only occur any time after 50% of the body mass is gone. the rangers began to die. psalm pulled into the fetal position and never woke up. the weather granted them no kindness, continuing hard and cold. knowing little of rogers woodcraft george campbell's group could rest virtually no nutrition from the force. the body needs a small amount of fat to maintain the functions of the brain bone marrow and cell membranes. some of campbell's men lost their minds and attempted to eat their own excrement. he later told the contemporary historian. after many fruitless days crossing asthma river came upon the mutilated bodies of dunbar and turner's party piled up floating among the thank blogs and the stream running off the pawn. if this was not a season for
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distinctions rode campbell and the men waded into the water so ridden by hoggard that they tore into the roth and riding flashes though it were the finest boehner they had never even. their cravings some modest wage, they carefully collected the fragments and carried them off. how far rogers and a struggling band broke the last taboo remains unclear. one really reliable source claimed rogers kilbane indians quoc and cutter into pieces. another ranger claimed that a black soldier died and was cut up and eight the man's hand along with a trout he had caught, which made very good breakfast. in his old age ranger sergeant david evans related the tale of terror that makes it probable that details never left his waking consciousness. one evening during the long nightmare is under pains denying him sleep he ruffled through someone's knapsack to make a
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terrific discovery of three human heads. he cut a piece from one of them, boiled it and eat it while the men continued to sleep. that sustenance helps him stay alive while others died but and still the deep field. we hardly deserve the name of human beings. these accounts taken after the fact may suffer from embellishments or hallucinations yet starvation heads historically imposed its own affects on imaginable until it is an door. on october 20, some eight days after the groups divided, rogers and his party encountered this deep is sending wells river somewhere near present-day crofton. the distance from the this for some point was 80 miles as the crow flies but they traveled the actual course southwest and southeast. five weeks have passed since they left crown point. tripping along the river course and then heard gunshots and
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fired three or four rounds in response. their growing joy push the most more rows of them to stumble the faster down the steep river bank towards the connecticut. on the crestline formed by the main mover and cleared by generations of minion farmers they came upon the deserted camp its fires still burning. the survivors who had given everything to get here looked at one another with incredulous sunken eyes. mcmullen had got back to rogers request for the provisions have left in most at a couple of hours before. they fired their muskets in the air with all the strength they could muster but they collapsed onto the forest floor. bike cruel fate the pardonably tenet samels stevens and five other men had only just given up waiting after several days. stevens had beaches large canoer
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3 miles downriver for gulledge the stevens and some of his men walked 5 miles to wait. what it prompted stevens to amend and hope ackers so breathe faith vigil? the party did not lack for provisions. perhaps they feared enemy patrols are perhaps the fastest awakened asian terrors as it had been so many men before them. moses stevens did not believe that even the great major could have pulled of so demanding a journey through that baron fall. a plea judgement so absolute that he decided not even to catch provisions. his lack of belief would doom the weakness of rogers party just a few more hours the starving men would have been eating s.a.l.t the pork and slugging down rum but the supplies laden consumed on the bottom of the big barken unl slipping down river. after stevens reported in amorist noted in his journal that he should have waited
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longer. men under great stress in danger of their lives could cling with almost tenacity to any shred of hope that promises deliverance from the suffering. we becomes the motivation that pushes each step the focus that give shape the reality to willpower and the crest of holds back down in deep despair. such as the power of the mind that salvation takes on an almost physical certainty. when the dream is-does that the kite string is that letting all hope and insurance soar into the chilling skyper coke our distress upon this occasion was truly an expressible spirit really depressed by the unger in fatigue we had already suffered. now almost entirely sunk with the nuss. see no resources left or any reasonable grounds to hope that we should escape the most miserable death by famine roach rogers. he kept such men as he could and as were capable of responding busy even though he abandoned
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campsite must been particularly crushing. a jeselnik church once stood near the confluence. now pilots frauding las blogs became a temporary shelter against the rain. rogers pushed off to hunt with little effect hampered by his own strength. the connecticut cold reminded the survivors hourly of the abundant food just 60 miles done river. rogers took the young indian boy, another ranger and another ranger who we don't know and the men built a log raft. as you can see here and started down the connecticut as their only way to relief. on the second day they nearly shot over the falls near today's
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vermont but narrowly escaped by throwing themselves into the water and threshing to shore. the wrath crashed over and broke into pieces which the current and dragged out of the river. the exhausted crew work their way round that boiling whitewater. rogers stent ogden off after red squirrels while they set about building a new raft, challenging enough task even without tools. the pair build fires around the bases of pine trees and brought them tumbling down. then they renewed the fires into equal links. perhaps rogers said learn such a trick from his long journey. or perhaps his mind came up with a solution on the spot. either way the man with only their wits to rely on crafted the components of a raft with note tools except a night. the hunters returned with a
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spruce grouse and that scrap gave the skill >>host: humans pathetically strength to try again. the following day the forest that they had set out the rangers found the lost together risking and set up to risk the rivers power. the war 50 yards of pounding cataracts alerted the for some to this raft in time to make it short. rogers had not been reviewed the situation as the thunder and nearly drowned out their feeble voices. unger ripped their midsections with cramps that banned them over and reduce their motions. sawers and cuts would not heal and a concentration was bleeding at best. constant shivering sometimes seemed to knock their frail bodies to the ground. rogers put it simply, they would not have been able to make the third craft in case we lost this one. their only chance lay in getting
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it down the rapids. ride church stumbled over a bush, probably a hazel and pulled out his knife. by nodding against one another they braved a-- rated a strong growth. they worked with nearly total apathy, moore's d'este refugee. to the bottom of the falls. no longer could they hear one another. rogers wait disarms an odd and push the raft out on to the current and kept it drag on the power with the hazel rope while guiding as best he could. i have the bottom rogers prepared to swim aborted when it came down and paddled ashore. the rafted bounds, bumped and tomball to the rapids without coming apart as it drew nearer rogers build up this theme he could as hard as he could.
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i had the good fortune to succeed rogers wrote with the usual understatement. the rats ornack complement work their way towards rogers sure ring figure who lay collapsed on the short beside the craft. the next morning they boarded and once more shot down river. they encountered woodcutters who have first refuse to believe that this rennick dooby the detail of a fine force that only a few weeks before tear the wilderness. providing shoulders and arms the workman held were one observer noted that major was scarcely able to walk after his the teague. and about a half an hour after he got back, he organized members to send a relief column back up the river and in ten days since leaving his men up at the confluence of the well to promise to get back in ten days and on the tenth day the
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provisions had come back. it is unclear exactly how many died, but al little less than half of his force through, or claimed by the woods in one shape or another. so, that is a little bit about the st. francis river in a nutshell come as though to cap the speech, i would love to bring out this wonderful map, which we are, it is really a pleasure to have. we good friend, robert maquire is a wonderful collector, very knowledgeable about the french and indian war, collected this map in the '70s and this is the map of the st. francis way and you will see projected up here. it is not very well protected. i urge you to come up and take a
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look. mr. maquire has been very generous to bring this year to date for us all to see. we believe this is probably the work of captain james abercrombie, an engineer and still photographer but it is a reflection. he was not on sing francis way but it was drawn under the direction we believe of robert rogers and he has noted in his-- a couple of places that i came this way and i think there are a lot of fun things to know. i think the overwhelming impression which is pretty remarkable that this area had not been mapped. how will you compared with the topography of today's mats? how remarkably accurate it is and how we still struggle with this to see how robert rogers, after traveling this ground, on the ground could have put this
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together but it is the remarkable thing and it really does-- and this is what is so wonderful about these primary sources is to see it and to understand the way he looked at their roots and the trip itself. so, anyway i wanted to close with that and take some questions. [applause] >> thank you john. john has some time to take some questions. we will have a microphone out in the audience. if you have a question, raise your hand and i will identify you and then we will work a way around the room to make easier for the camera crew to get u.s. well. we will start here in the front. if you wait until mic gets to you, please. >> yes, would you comment
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briefly on the end of major roberts and his activities during the american revolution? certainly not in detail, but what happened to him in later life? >> that is a very good question and one thing, why we don't know him as much as i think we should, is right when the revolution was brewing rogers said spent the last six years in london and he came back. he had some debt problems. he had been unable to repay lot of the men under his command. he did not either have the receipts and also a lot of his claims were denied for a number of reasons, and he came back and he is a man who was a hero and is seen as some kind of great evil figure. he is a very, person a kind of brings those kinds of, you know, because he was so much bigger than life.
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and as the revolution was getting going, it was a very difficult time. people weren't really having to claim whether they were a tory or not. there were conspiracy theories against washington's life and washington had rogers thrown in jail believing he was a spy for the british. and i write about it in the book. there's a very interesting meeting of these two men who were separated in age by a year. he was a man of the tidewater virginia plantation, and here was rogers, robert rogers, who was actually more well-known as the great hero but he was a scotch-irish tumbleweed and he had no land. this was a naison beginning of populism, a real struggle in this country which we see to this day. rogers was not a spy and i
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already people of often thought he was a tory siding with the british. what i have always believed is that he was a continental is. he did not want to bother with a lot of the stamp test in business that was going on. he said look what, look at what this continent is all about, the riches, what is out there. stop kind of messing around with all of this, stop the squabble. there were larger imperial issues of the continent, and to some extent he was naïve about the changes in a big way that was going on. so, he had been falsely accused of, by the british, for being an agent of the french, so he had been exonerated by that so he didn't want to go back to prison. u.s katon wendover to join the british, somewhat halfhearted plea, but he caught nathan hail, a very interesting and then he
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had a series of battles and then with the queen's rangers and then kind of dribbled off. i believe kind of his heart was not in it and the ground could change. he went back to london and was kind of an unhappy man. it is a real story in the great tragedy, this great, great hero kind of humbled in that way. >> thank you. >> you are welcome. >> with regard to the st. francis, can you comment on the allegations of cannibalism, is this with regard to the major rogers and one of the indian captains that i read about? if you excepted as true what does it say about his character? >> as i think i read in here too, i think the jury is out
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really. there been a lot of allegations as these sorts of the vince 210 to bring some very late in life confessions of people that i have some question believing. do i believe that hypothetically that if rogers was put into a situation where there was the difference between living or dying, i think probably he would do that. i am not clear on that in the st. francis away, though i am certain that other people did it in the other groups. i'm not clear that robert rogers did that. it is also very difficult to judge those situations, so i can't describe any kind of moral, ethical nature to it under those kinds of circumstances. it is very hard for me to judge not having faced that kind of travail. >> anyone else?
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>> the person who introduced you and to you mentioned about this phenomena of more materials coming to life the further you get in time spent from the actually fence. could you touch upon some of the artifacts, the notes that you've gotten recently that have helped you to expand on this story that may be someone actually closer to the time of the event never even had access to, therefore you shed more light now then someone could 100 years previous. i find that fascinating, that occurrence. >> thank you for that question. it is really great fun and a challenge to fill in the polls were the robert rogers stories were i don't have specific documentation of what i'd been happening and of course i can make it up.
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kenneth rogers could fill-in but i have a pretty good idea of what happened but i can't as a historian right that. so it is taking me to explore a wide variety of sources, so everywhere from there been some very wonderful discoveries of new journals from private, a number in private collections that i have had the joy to kind of work my way through even though the spelling is correct again it is hard to read them but these journals are really great, a great source of information and through folks that fort tie i have been able to get some wonderful new resources on that. there is also great contributions from the reenactment community, and an interesting way. i have had a lot of conversations with these folks, who really have been going out into the woods, living with these materials, selling their
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clothes, firing their flintlocks repeatedly, and there is a certain thing that you can kind of learn about the way the teen century worked through that kind of world. there are electronic resources now, where the colonial newspapers are all digitized, so no instead of reading thousands and thousands and thousands of pages i can search little bit more effectively through that so that is a technological advantage. so, through new fund materials like this map and that technology, after talking with people and then through just the great work of people like fred anderson and: mckelway and a bunch of other wonderful oral histories of some of the abernathy, through all of that they are just wonderful,
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wonderful resources. you have to kind of tree each one differently and kind of figure out how it all is going to work, but it is a really great fun. >> thank you. >> you are welcome. >> i really was impressed with your writing. it was difficult to take all that information and put it into poetry actually. it was really a delight to hear you read from your book. i think just taking a look at outside of the fort and everything and all of that area that you encompassed and have you assimilated this information into such a beautiful picture. life at that time was really incredible. >> thank you. thank you very much. i am a big believer that history is not black and white and boring, that there is no reason why taking keys from all of
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those folks who have read so avidly for so long. this is really, really good stuff and there's no reason why it can't be so compelling as it is. i don't even have to do that much to make it compelling. it is so remarkable what life was like in the 18th century. >> you began your talk with the mention of the movie, the spencer tracy movie. is a result of the research what you see as the greatest distortion in the movie? >> well, there are a number. i would probably-- i mean the indians are all kind of a mix of eastern and western. is kind of a whole mess. i think in a larger issue as opposed to going to rob the specific details that they got wrong, i think ultimately what was actually the hardest thing was with this book to do, was to
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really get the real robert rogers because kenneth roberts did such a good job, and then spencer tracy-- spencer tracy came along in my estimation has kind of a genial, drunk come hysteria typical thing of the frontiersmen. the hardest thing in this book was for me to break out of that stereotype. here was the guy, we didn't get into this today, who wrote a play about pontiac the war in the british about the dangers of mistreating the indians. there was a guy who wrote two books. one was his journals but another was his synoptic account, ethnography of north america because nobody had done it before. this mayodan to thomas jefferson's library in these two volumes were in the earliest library of congress, the volumes of the library of congress. 40 years before, before rogers,
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40 years later lewis and clark would virtually track the route that robert rogers set up, so what i was very interested in coming here was the guy who is often talked about is this backwoods, killing everybody and all of that but here was a guy who wrote two books and they play. he was the backwoodsman but where did this come from? what was so interesting is breaking out of the stereotype and is the kind of genial lug who like to drink too much and, to say life back then, this was a lot more complicated, a lot more interesting and a lot more kind of really fitted and he was a really incredible guy. a really intentive guy, who really with the tools that he had was an incredibly effective man. was the perfect? no. did he get involved in counterfeiting? yes. did he drink too much of times, but was the of there? was the


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